As soon as Paul saw the light from heaven above the brightness of the sun, he said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). And as soon as he was willing to yield he was in a condition where God could meet his need; where God could display His power; where God could have the man. Oh, beloved, are you saying today, “What wilt thou have me to do?” The place of yieldedness is just where God wants us.
People are saying, “I want the baptism, I want healing, I would like to know of a certainly that I am a child of God,” and I see nothing, absolutely nothing in the way except unyieldedness to the plan of God. The condition was met which Paul demanded, and instantly when he laid hands on them they were filled with the Spirit and spake in other tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:6). The only thing needed was just to be in the condition where God could come in. The main thing today that God wants is obedience. When you begin yielding and yielding to God He has a plan for your life, and you come in to that wonderful place where all you have to do is to eat the fruits of Canaan. I am convinced that Paul must have been in divine order as well as those men, and Paul had a mission right away to the whole of Asia.
Brothers and sisters, it is the call of God that counts. Paul was in the call of God. Oh, I believe God wants to stir somebody’s heart today to obedience; it may be for China or India or Africa, but the thing God is looking for is obedience.
“What wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).
…God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
If God can have His way today, the ministry of somebody will begin; it always begins as soon as you yield. Paul had been bringing many people to prison, but God brought Paul to such a place of yieldedness and brokenness that he cried out, “What wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). Paul’s choice was to be a bondservant for Jesus Christ. Beloved, are you willing that God shall have His way today? God said, “I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). But Paul saw that these things were working out a far more exceeding weight of glory. You people who have come for a touch from God, are you willing to follow Him; will you obey Him?
When the prodigal son had returned and the father had killed the fatted calf and made a feast for him, the elder brother was angry and said, “…thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends,” (Luke 15:29) but the father said to him, “…all that I have is thine” (v. 31). He could kill a fatted calf at any time. Beloved, all in the Father’s house is ours, but it will come only through obedience. And when He can trust us, we will not come behind in anything.
“…God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul” (Acts 19:11). Let us notice the handkerchiefs that went from his body; it means to say that when he touched and sent them forth, God wrought special miracles through them, and diseases departed from the sick, and evil spirits went out of them. Is it not lovely? I believe after we lay hands on these handkerchiefs and pray over them, that they should be handled very sacredly, and even as the one carries them they will bring life, if they are carried in faith to the suffering one. The very effect of it, if you only believed, would change your own body as you carried it.
A woman came to me one day and said, “My husband is such a trial to me; the first salary he gets he spends it in drink, and then he cannot do his work and comes home; I love him very much, what can be done?” I said, “If I were you I would take a handkerchief and would place it under his head when he went to sleep at night, and say nothing to him, but have a living faith.” We anointed a handkerchief in the name of Jesus, and she put it under his head. Oh, beloved, there is a way to reach these wayward ones. The next morning on his way to work he called for a glass of beer; he lifted it to his lips, but he thought there was something wrong with it, and he put it down and went out. He went to another saloon, and another, and did the same thing. He came home sober. His wife was gladly surprised and he told her the story; how it had affected him. That was the turning point in his life; it meant not only giving up drink, but it meant his salvation.
God wants to change our faith today. He wants us to see it is not obtained by struggling and working and pining. “…the Father himself loveth you…” (John 16:27). “…Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17). “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Who is the man that will take the place of Paul, and yield and yield and yield, until God so possesses him in such a way that from his body virtue shall flow to the sick and suffering? It will have to be the virtue of Christ that flows. Don’t think there is some magic virtue in the handkerchief or you will miss the virtue; it is the living faith in the man who lays the handkerchief on his body, and the power of God through that faith. Praise God, we may lay hold of this living faith today. “The blood has never lost its power.” As we get in touch with Jesus, wonderful things will take place; and what else? We shall get nearer and nearer to Him.
There is another side to it. “…exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth…and the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Acts 19:13,15). I beseech you in the name of Jesus, especially those of you who are baptized, to awaken up to the fact that you have power if God is with you; but there must be a resemblance between you and Jesus. The evil spirit said, “…Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Acts 19:15). Paul had the resemblance.
You are not going to get it without having His presence; His presence changes you. You are not going to be able to get the results without the marks of the Lord Jesus. The man must have the divine power within himself; devils will take no notice of any power if they do not see the Christ. “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” The difference between these men was they had not the marks of Christ, so the manifestation of the power of Christ was not seen.
You want power: don’t take the wrong way. Don’t take it as power because you speak in tongues, and if God has given you revelations along certain lines don’t take that for the power; or if you have even laid hands on the sick and they have been healed, don’t take that for the power. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” (Luke 4:18); that alone is the power. Don’t be deceived; there is a place to get where you know the Spirit is upon you, so you will be able to do the works which are wrought by this blessed Spirit of God in you, and the manifestation of His power shall be seen, and people will believe in the Lord.
What will make men believe the divine promises of God? Beloved, let me say to you today, God wants you to be ministering spirits, and it means to be clothed with another power. And this divine power, you know when it is there, and you know when it goes forth. The baptism of Jesus must bring us to have a single eye to the glory of God; everything else is wasted time and wasted energy. Beloved, we can reach it; it is a high mark but we can get to it. You ask how? “What wilt thou have me to do?” That is the plan. It means a perfect surrender to the call of God, and perfect obedience.
A dear young Russian came to England. He did not know the language, but learned it quickly and was very much used and blessed of God; and as the wonderful manifestations of the power of God were seen, they pressed upon him to know the secret of his power, but he felt it was so sacred between him and God he should not tell it, but they pressed him so much he finally said to them: “First God called me, and His presence was so precious, that I said to God at every call I would obey Him, and I yielded, and yielded, and yielded, until I realized that I was simply clothed with another power altogether, and I realized that God took me, tongue, thoughts and everything, and I was not myself but it was Christ working through me.” How many of you today have known that God has called you over and over, and has put His hand upon you, but you have not yielded? How many of you have had the breathing of His power within you, calling you to prayer, and you have to confess you have failed?
I went to a house one afternoon where I had been called, and met a man at the door. He said, “My wife has not been out of bed for eight months; she is paralyzed. She has been looking so much for you to come, she is hoping God will raise her up.” I went in and rebuked the devil’s power. She said, “I know I am healed; if you go out I will get up.” I left the house, and went away not hearing anything more about her. I went to a meeting that night, and a man jumped up and said he had something he wanted to say; he had to go to catch a train but wanted to talk first. He said, “I come to this city once a week, and I visit the sick all over the city. There is a woman I have been visiting and I was very much distressed about her; she was paralyzed and has lain on that bed many months, and when I went there today she was up doing her work.” I tell this story because I want you to see Jesus.
We had a letter which came to our house to say that a young man was very ill. He had been to our Mission a few years before with a very bad foot; he had no shoe on, but a piece of leather fastened on the foot. God healed him that day. Three years after, something else came upon him. What it was I don’t know, but his heart failed, and he was helpless; he could not rise or dress or do anything for himself, and in that condition he called his sister and told her to write and see if I would pray. My wife said to go, and she believed God would give me that life. I went, and when I got to this place I found the whole country was expecting me; they had said that when I came this man would be healed. I said to the woman when I arrived, “I have come.” “Yes,” she said, “but it is too late.” “Is he alive?” I asked, “Yes, just alive,” she said. I went in and put my hands upon him, and said, “Martin.” He just breathed slightly, and whispered, “The doctor said if I move from this position I will never move again.” I said, “Do you know the Scripture says, ‘God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever’?” (Psalm 73:26). He said, “Shall I get up?” I said, “No.”
That day was spent in prayer and ministering the Word. I found a great state of unbelief in that house, but I saw Martin had faith to be healed. His sister was home from the asylum. God held me there to pray for that place. I said to the family, “Get Martin’s clothes ready; I believe he is to be raised up.” I felt the unbelief. I went to the chapel and had prayer with a number of people around there, and before noon they too believed Martin would be healed. When I returned I said, “Are his clothes ready?” They said, “No.” I said, “Oh, will you hinder God’s work in this house?” I went in to Martin’s room all alone. I said, “I believe God will do a new thing today. I believe when I lay hands on you the glory of heaven will fill the place.” I laid my hands on him in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and immediately the glory of the Lord filled the room, and I went headlong to the floor. I did not see what took place on the bed, or in the room, but this young man began to shout out, “Glory, glory!” and I heard him say, “for Thy glory, Lord,” and that man stood before me perfectly healed. He went to the door and opened it and his father stood there. He said, “Father, the Lord has raised me up,” and the father fell to the floor and cried for salvation. The young woman brought out of the asylum was perfectly healed at that moment by the power of God in that house.
God wants us to see that the power of God coming upon people has something more in it than we have yet known. The power to heal and to baptize is in this place, but you must say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” You say it is four months before the harvest. If you had the eyes of Jesus you would see that the harvest is already here. The devil will say you can’t have faith; you tell him he is a liar. The Holy Ghost wants you for the purpose of manifesting Jesus through you. Oh, may you never be the same again! The Holy Spirit moving upon us will make us to be like Him, and we will truly say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
~ Smith Wigglesworth
An Address at The Monday Meeting, Corinthian Hall, Oakland, Cal. Reported by Miss Sadie Cody. October 1914
Published in Triumphs of Faith p. 227-230 October 1914